Friday, September 28, 2012

Because It's Friday And Life Is Good

A picture of contentment.

Last night. Both boys, asleep, in their room together. (This is worth noting because they only started sleeping in the same room last week, and so far, it is AWESOME. Baby sleeps better, boy gets off to bed better and is happier, we have our room back. This is what I have been dreaming of for months now.)

No cat puke that I'm aware of.

The Dude pulls out the penny jar and a deck of cards and tries to teach me poker. I do not completely suck.

Beer and peanuts in the shell are consumed.

Once I finally drag myself away so that I can go to bed on time for once, I get a strange burst of energy and finally tackle the paper on my desk that has accumulated since we got back from Ohio. I fail to get to bed on time but succeed in making sense of my desktop.

Sleep is sound, even if short.

The baby does not have scabies, despite his teachers' concerns. (There was another kid in room who had it and Goo's skin is perpetually rashy/rough, thanks to the everlasting drool, our dry apartment, and his rough-and-tumble ways. So, not a model for "baby soft skin", but parasite free.)

It is a beautiful day.

And it's Friday!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Anyone Want An Elderly, Neutrotic Cat?

So, within a 24-hour period, I had the joy of...

Cleaning up cat pee and poop because the litter box opening was shoved too close to the wall for the cat to get in (since little boys apparently think litter boxes make great things to sit on (Buddy) or practice standing against (Goo)).

Cleaning up cat puke from the bedroom floor and my blanket.

Being woken up at 2:30 a.m. by a crying cat, then fearing at 5:00 a.m. that the crying cat would wake up the baby who had only just gone back to sleep, then thinking at 5:20 a.m. that the baby was, indeed, awake, only to find that it was just the cat crying (again). At which point there was no more hope of my sleeping anymore.

Coming out into the kitchen from all this activity to find, yes, more cat poop on the floor to clean up.

I realize I'm not making much of a case here for kitty adoption, but really, he is a sweet cat.

And The Dude won't let him go, so this is just wishful thinking anyway.

Oh, for a day without cat puke.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

One Step Back to Leap Forward

Just been evaluating my training this season and thinking about what works for me and what doesn't, as I move into the last month of race training and start thinking about next year and what I'll do over the winter.

I like that I've added in rowing, it's great to have an intense workout that isn't running since I'm not a fast swimmer and don't want to be (and I'm building some nice arm and back definition in the process!)

But I need to add swimming back in as a regular workout because it helps me recover from long/hard runs in a way that rowing doesn't.

And while it was ego-satisfying to increase my mileage by adding in an extra run most weeks, I can't make this a regular practice, as I don't have the time to do all the recovery stuff I need to do to make that work. You know, since I'm forty now, and seem to be falling apart. I'm sure my fragmented sleep schedule doesn't help with that either.

So I'm back to my workout routine of past years --- three runs and two cross-training sessions, plus stretching/strength mini-workouts --- only with added intensity in the form of rowing and more focused strength-training.

I want to keep all this in mind this winter as I read up on marathon training plans and plan out my racing schedule for next year. Winter itself will be about maintaining my running base and losing the last pounds (knowing that winter here is defined as November through March).

And yes, I realize that I've chosen the hardest time of the year to make a weight-loss push, but I do not want to go into marathon training with any thought of trying to lose weight. I've made that mistake before and it was ugly.

So here's to smart training and saying no to Christmas cookies! And Halloween candy. I firmly believe there is room for the occasional hot chocolate and Thanksgiving pie though.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Half That Wasn't

So, I don't really need to drill too deep into this (or at least not any more - it's a good thing I rarely manage to write right after an event). About half an hour after posting about the Chicago Half, I decided not to do it after all. I felt that my reasons for doing it, coupled with the impact it would have on my day/week, were not worth the risk of injury to myself. Not when I have another race in eight weeks that I am actively training for. Plus in talking with The Dude (who has done the half) it didn't sound like a fun race as much as a fairly serious one - not something to just go do on a whim (unless I didn't have kids or were in a lot better condition than I am now).

Instead I slept in a bit and then went out for a ten-mile run in the neighborhood. I decided I would make it a time trial and aim for 11:00 pace for the first half and 10:00 pace for the second (faster than any of my long runs). I struggled during the first half - not physically but mentally - it took me a while to stop feeling sorry for myself, and the music I was listening to was all over the place so that didn't help. Things finally started clicking about halfway through and I enjoyed pushing myself to keep at a steady, yet faster, pace. Then, with what I thought was 1.75 miles to go, I saw I had 16 minutes to hit my time goal, so even though a stretch of this was uphill I leaned into it and pushed as hard as I could until I rounded those last blocks and made it home. And then realized that I'd failed to turn my watch back on after one of the last traffic lights and so had no way of knowing for certain whether or not I'd made my goal. Utter dejection, and back emotionally to where I was at the beginning of the run.

Utter foolishness, yes? Because I still ran that 10 miles, and the second half considerably faster than the first. And it was a beautiful day, and I was out running, and my kids were having a great time with The Dude at home, and I had no reason in the world to feel sorry for myself at all.

(I've since mapped out that last stretch and found that it was only 1.6 miles, not 1.75, so I was in no worry of not meeting my goal for the morning anyway. The danger of trying to convert minutes into miles at the end of a run.)

I still had to go through a couple of cycles of alternately feeling sorry for myself and counting my blessings before I was done with it and could embrace the day. And it was a glorious day and I was so glad I was there to be available to my family, not trying to recover from a race I had no business running.

And the lesson learned from all this? To not mess around with my racing schedule too much once I've set it for the year. 5k's and 10k's excepted, of course.

Although, as a friend pointed out, I did end up getting those long runs in that I'd had trouble with...

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Last Thoughts Before Tomorrow's Half

I've been trying to figure out why I'm even doing this half, since I've already run a half this year, I have another long race in just eight weeks, and I really have too much planned in this month already. I could just get up early and run long without having to travel all the way down to the other end of the city on top of it. But no, I'm going to do it, and I'm doing my best to be excited for it. Plus knowing why I'm doing it will help me know what my plan for it is.

And I realized that the main reason I'm doing this is to prepare for my race in November. I was having a hard time fitting in my long runs, and I very seriously thought, well, if I sign up for a half, then I'll have to get those long runs in. And I have.

So with that in mind, tomorrow I will go out and run a bit more carefully than I otherwise would. I'll still plan to start off relaxed and increase speed gradually as I go along, but I'm not going to do any of my crazy competitive stuff. I will exercise patience in the face of runner gridlock. I will not tear down any hills. I will not run on the side of the path if things get crowded. I may not even sprint at the end (though I'm not making any promises about that). I will do everything I can to run a good run and not get injured. And then I am taking two weeks off from running (and I can tell I need this because I've been excited about going to the gym and riding the bike - and I never want to do that).

And then I will have done the Chicago Half, which I have heard so much about and have thought so long about doing, and I will never have to do it again. (And I'll have a new long-sleeve running shirt to boot.)

P.S. Ten o'clock, and I have just decided not to run it after all. Feeling very happy about this decision and my alternate plans. More later.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Random Thoughts Before The Chicago Half

I hate tapering. Even though my taper for this half is short, I still feel all thrown off, mostly with food.

Some of that is also because I had a lo-o-ong weekend (5 days) and baked cupcakes twice during that time. (And then again last night - I'm trying out recipes for Buddy's birthday party.) I'm having a hard time "resetting" my sugar consumption.

I've been very regimented around food this summer (meat, sugar, dairy) and I've realized I'm not going to be able to continue in that way. It's taken me a few days to feel okay with that and I'm still not quite certain what not being so regimented will look like for me. It's helpful to know that this is a cycle I go through naturally with the seasons; it took me a little while to recognize this since all my "regular" cycles (and I do mean all of them) got disrupted with being pregnant and I'm only just settling back in to them.

(Yes, I am one of those annoying people who claim to be "in tune with" their bodies and sensitive to the earth's cycles --- or at least when I am not overriding those signals with sugar and white flour and dairy.)

I feel like I have been pushing pushing pushing on a number of things this summer and I am worn out. Two is more work than one (despite what my friends told me - liars). The outline of my life may not have changed much with having a second child, but there is a lot more packed into that space.

Thankfully in the last week I/we have stepped back a little bit from some of that pushing and have a more relaxed timeframe for some of the things I/we want to accomplish. Nothing like going away for a bit to put things into perspective.

Went to the Milwaukee Art Museum last weekend with the whole family. (Happy sigh.) I love that museum, and I love that museum campus. And I love being there with The Dude, and now, with Buddy and Goob as well. While it would have been nice to have been able to take in more of the exhibits, for now I will take what I can get.
Quadracci Pavilion

I have been frustrated to realize that this little race, that I just signed up for on a whim four weeks ago, is having a more significant impact on my training for November than I had anticipated. And this week I am feeling run down, with strange twinges that suggest overwork. I think after Sunday I will take a two-week running break and stick to swimming and the gym for a while. I really want to be able to attack November's race and I won't be able to if I continue to feel so run down, or worse, hurt myself.

But as the week goes on  I start to feel more excited about Sunday!